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El Brete, Trancas Department, Tucumán, Argentina

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History:
Some years ago, the National Atomic Energy Commission, has worked in Tucumán province of aerial survey to determine areas of anomalies. In this regard were made numerous flights by pointing out areas of radioactive anomalies. Fossil organic remains identified initially as bones, in the district Tucumán-Salta of the Trancas Department were found in the area of "El Brete". These fossils were mineralized with a strong radioactivity as a result of the impregnation of solutions of uranium.

A ground survey of the area was conducted in an expedition made in 1972 by Raúl Tauber. From the place called "El Brete" on the neighbourhood road continued 300 meters up the bridge over the Clavisán stream and from there, about 100 meters downstream, to the mouth of the Creek in the Tala River. From that point back the Tala River upstream and after traveling about 1000 meters appear in territory of Salta the first Canyon from a height ranging between 40 and 50 meters with fossils. About two miles above this last point appears a small hill of characteristic shape and which can be seen along the route of the River, which features 50 metres of the same, in territory of Salta, a cliff edge in which were found abundant fossils impregnated with uranium solutions and fine sandstone banks and you clay consolidated carriers in some sectors of Mirabilite appearing as radiated white efflorescence.
On the other hand is toured a sector of the El Brete ranch where limestone banks met with Calcite and fossils impregnated with strong radioactivity.
This area was considered by experts as the greatest single fossils deposit discovered thus far in the Argentine Northwest.

Dinosaurs:
The original discovery was made at the end of the 1970s in the 20th century, they were a group of 6 incomplete skeletons of dinosaurs. They were found in the Balbuena subgroup of the Salta of El Brete Formation. It is located in the vicinity of the Arroyo Gonzales at the ranch "El Brete", West of the route No. 9, 11 kilometres from "El Tala" of the Department La Candelaria of the Salta province, near the border with Tucumán. The area attracted attention in 1960 when fragment of bones were found. In 1975 was formed a paleontological expedition organized by the Miguel Lillo Foundation and conducted by Dr. Bonaparte, and focused on the top of a hill covered with trees. For two years the excavation continued with the support of many organizations including the CONICET, Chapman Foundation and the municipality of research of the National University of Tucumán. In 1977 Bonaparte reported the discovery and the geological characteristics of the region, with Powell reporting the presence of sauropods, carnosaurs, coelurosaurian and birds. The description of the genus was made in 1980.

Saltasaurus eggs:
A great nesting area, was found in two expeditions, in 1997 and in 1999 by the paleontologists, Luis Chiape, Rodolfo Coria and Lowell Dingus. The region was called "Auca Mahuevo" and was kept secret, to be able to preserve the fossils from looters.
The eggs have a diameter of 11 to 12 cms. and within them were found embryos fossilized skin impressions, although there was no indication of feathers or skin spines. One interesting thing is that the first fossil has been found with an "egg tooth", this is a structure used to assist in the hatching. This structure appears in the current turtles, crocodiles and in some birds, but in contrast to this is mesodermic, not ectodermic. It is a structure of bone, unlike a real tooth, which was in the end more dorsorostral of the snout. The difference of embryonic origin, also shows a clear case of convergent evolution is preserved the testácea membrane which is attached to the shell. The place had a shape similar to the nesting colonies that are usually seen between birds and turtles. Each nest was separated from the rest by two or three meters. Nests are reminded of the crocodiles, where they receive the warmth for the incubation of the decay of organic matter to form.
These eggs has been assigned to Saltasaurus. Several hundred females apparently dug holes, laid their eggs and then buried them under dirt and vegetation. This provides evidence of behavior in herd, who along with his armor, may have been a defence against large predators like the Abelisaurus and Aucasaurus .

Hydroxylapatite:
Some fossils like as Teeth fossils horse(Hippidion from Pleistocene), fragments of tusks and bones of Mastodon(Stegomastodon Superbus from Pleistocene), and remains bone of Glyptodon Clavipes, were found in the ravines of the Tala River, in the area of "El Brete", mineralized with Hydroxylapatite [Ca5 (PO4) 3 (OH)], with radioactive nature in some specimens, where the U replaces the Ca with a record of 0.14% U3O8. In some cases coloured to brown by iron oxides.

Mineral List



10 entries listed. 6 valid minerals.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.

References

Celestino Danieli, Víctor Fabre, B. Quartino (1960) - Restos óseos uraníferos de la zona de El Brete, Dpto. Candelaria, Prov. de Salta; Acta geológica Lilloana. Tomo III, PÁG. 3-5. Fundación e Instituto Miguel Lillo, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán.

Hugo A. Peña (1970) - Minerales y Rocas de Aplicación de la Provincia de Tucumán. Dirección Provincial de Minas. Tucumán. República Argentina.

Raúl J. Tauber Larry (1972) - Informe sobre la expedición al "Brete", límite Tucumán - Salta. Tucumán. Informe Personal.

J. F. Bonaparte, J. A. Salfity, G. Bossi y J. E.Powell(1977). Hallazgo de dinosaurios y aves cretácicas en la Formación Lecho de El Brete (Salta), próximo al límite con Tucumán. Acta Geologica Lilloana, 14, 5-17..

Walking on Eggs: The Astonishing Discovery of Thousands of Dinosaur Eggs in the Badlands of Patagonia, by Luis Chiappe and Lowell Dingus. (June 19, 2001), Scribner. ISBN 0-7432-1211-8.

J. E. Powell (1992). Osteología de Saltasaurus loricatus (Sauropoda-Titanosauridae) del Cretácico Superior del Noroeste argentino. Actas del segundo curso de paleontología en Cuenca. Los Dinosaurios y su entorno biótico, J.L. Sanz y A.D. Buscalioni (eds.), J. L. Sanz y A. D. Buscalioni166-230.

J. F. Bonaparte & J. E. Powell (1980). A continental assemblage of tetrapods from the Upper Cretaceous of Northwestern Argentina (Sauropoda-Coelurosauria-Carnosauria-Aves). Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France, 139, 19-28.

J. Bonaparte y G. E. Bossi (1967). Sobre la presencia de dinosaurios de la formación Pirgua del grupo Salta y su significado cronológico. Acta Geológica Lilloana. Tomo 9: 25-44.

E. Linares y R. O. Toubes (1960). Los minerales radioactivos de la República Argentina. 1ras Jornadas Geológicas Argentinas, 3:191-205.

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